Published on September 08, 2021

Take a Break & Take a Breath

two hands forming the shape of a heart

During times of crisis, we often focus on taking care of others around us. Now is a very important time to take care of YOU as well. If you do not take care of you then you cannot care for others to the best of your ability.

  • Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy and maintain your exercise routine when possible. Get plenty of sleep. Include a five-minute daily quiet time for yourself to focus on the positive things in your life.
  • Take breaks. Don't forget to take your break at work; even if you feel like you don't have time! Deep breathing and sunshine (or rain) is always a great remedy for stressful times. Get outside. Make sure your coworkers are taking their breaks, too.
  • Connect. Speak often with the people who are important to you. Remember to keep conversations about the crisis limited if possible. Find some positive things to discuss. Laughter is the best medicine.
  • Be mindful of others. Others around you are most likely experiencing some of the same feelings as you at this time. Give others permission to make mistakes. Be quick to offer forgiveness if they do seem more frustrated or overwhelmed than usual.
  • Avoid excessive media. Give yourself and your family a break at home from discussions surrounding the crisis. Turn the news off - avoid excessive media coverage and social media.
  • Lean on the people who care. Reach out to your family, friends, church family and your Employee Assistance Program (if provided by your employer).

Understand when Enough is Enough

Identifying symptoms of reaching a breaking point is important. If you are having overwhelming fears and worry for your own health and the health of your loved ones you may experience some of the following:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Having difficulty sleeping (increased nightmares)
  • Difficulty concentrating (upsetting thoughts or images)
  • Increased alcohol, tobacco or drug use
  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear
  • Anger or short temper

Control the Controllables

What can you control about this situation? More often than not, the answer to this question is, "YOU." You can only control yourself and your response.

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to pinpoint triggers.
  • Learn how to say "no."
  • Feel comfortable with saying, "I don't want to talk about it right now."
  • Avoid people who create stress.
  • Pare down your to-do list.
  • Redirect conversations that may trigger anxiety.
  • Don't bottle up your feelings. We tend to project anger and frustration onto others when we bottle up emotions about the things we cannot control.

Give Yourself Permission

  • It is OK to cry, be overwhelmed or sad during this time. Walk away when you need to walk away.
  • It is NOT OK to forget about you!

Connecting with Loved Ones During Restricted Visitation

Staying connected to loved ones while they are hospitalized is vital to care. Visitation is strictly limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there are still plenty of ways to connect with each other.

There’s an app for that. If you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, there are many ways to connect.

  • On Apple devices, there’s FaceTime, and on Android devices there’s Google Duo.
  • Other options include:
    Facebook Messenger
    Google Hangout

Just make sure you and the person you’re trying to connect with are using the same app. If your loved one who is hospitalized doesn’t have access to a device like this, they are always reachable by an in-room telephone.

Dealing with a crisis... emotionally, physically & psychologically